Current GPUs and all things QC

usefuldesign.au's picture

How do the GPUs in the current iMacs and MacPros stack-up for OpenCL (flaky software implementation not withstanding) and general QC performance. Are the ATI cards OpenCL happy and all the same with regards to features implemented?

I wouldn't normally consider an iMac but given I can get an i7 and external monitor they almost fill the 'small tower' slot (minus the removable cards and extra slots of course) missing in the Mac range.

I need to by a new box to replace my aging G5 for graphic design work and a job I have coming up will demand the extra speed. Ideally I'd be going for a MacBookPro or MacPro. Both of these are listed as imminent updates on MacRumours buyers guide, so I'm hesitant to shell top dollar for yesterdays processors (esp the MacBookPro should they go i5 or whatever).

Any opinions received graciously!

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usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC

Quote:
All ATI cards released since the spring of 2007 will support OpenGL 3.3 with the help of the new beta driver, although the performance will of course vary from card to card. However, OpenGL 4.0 will only work fully on the Radeon HD 5800 and HD 5900 series cards. The reason for this is because AMD's more affordable cards don't support double precision. Apart from that one exception, all of the Radeon HD 5000 series cards from the 5400 and up support OpenGL 4.0. However AMD vows to enable it for its lesser cards at a later date.

http://www.semiaccurate.com/2010/03/26/amd-beats-nvidia-opengl-40-support/

Thought this would interest some owners of previous ATI cards currently not supported.

cybero's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC

I have asked this question - in passing - without any sure fire response given.

So are they OpenCL compliant ATI cards in Mac builds or not?

SteveElbows's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC

I would certainly wait as long as you can possibly afford to because refreshes of the various Pro Macs should happen quite soon.

I consider the performance of OpenGL & OpenCL on Macbook Pros that have the Nvidia 9600M GT to be quite nice. However the Mac Pro with an expensive GTX 285 graphics card should totally blow away mobile solutions when it comes to OpenCL, once Apple have sorted out the issues with OpenCL.

I have yet to be convinced that even modern ATI cards work well with OpenCL on Apple, perhaps this will become clearer once 10.6.3 is out, but I will be steering clear for now.

Its also unclear whether we'll be able to use more than one graphics card for OpenCL simultaneously, again have to wait till QC OpenCL issues fixed, but if it does work then its another reason to consider a Mac Pro rather than a laptop.

cybero's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC

Thanks for the update, pity about the lack of surefire coverage ATI card wise , the latest ATI Radeons in the iMacs really fly with OpenGL.

I think I'll probably wait for one of those MacPro's :-)

cybero's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC - 10.6.3 has arrived

Quote:

perhaps this will become clearer once 10.6.3 is out

now's our chance to find out - 10.6.3 is here :-) - hope I'm smiling a little later on.

Bye , Bye 10.6.2, Those OpenCL crashes really gave me the blues

[to the tune for American Pie - by Don MacLean]

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC

The other thing about OpenCl (and therefore future proofing for it) is that apps other than QC will use it. Aperture3 uses it (to no great advantage according to benchmarking on web) already. I'm wondering of CS5 is going to use it. I think Adobe wrote there own GPU-code redraw, resize routines at least in CS4.Photoshop so they may well have stuck to that path, particularly given ATI hasn't been in the game until now.

I must buy now :/. Think I might go 2nd hand to minimise the devaluation that happens between now and june. Does any body know if latest GPU cards can be used in 2007-2009 MacPros?

SteveElbows's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC

The Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX285 that are available for Mac Pros are compatible with the 2008 and 2009 Mac Pros according to Apple Store. However there are reports that the Radeon HD 4870 works fine with Mac Pro 2007 model, just not officially supported. Personally I wouldnt go for anything earlier than the 2008 Mac Pro.

cwright's picture
Re: Current GPUs and all things QC

There aren't any CL-compliant ATI cards that I'm aware of for macs :(